Articles | Volume 2, issue 2
26 Oct 2009
 | 26 Oct 2009

Seasonal distribution of aerosol properties over Europe and their impact on UV irradiance

N. Y. Chubarova

Abstract. Using the aerosol optical thickness at 550 nm (τ550) from MODIS (collection 5) for the 2000–2008 period combined with the aerosol products from the ground-based AERONET network since 1996, monthly mean values of key aerosol parameters have been obtained with 1 degree resolution over Europe. Additional tests have revealed a satisfactory quality of the MODIS data, except in a few cases. Quality assured AERONET data are used for evaluating the Angstrom exponent, single scattering albedo and asymmetry factor, and for validating the final aerosol optical thickness in the UV spectral region. A method for extrapolating the aerosol parameters into the UV spectral region is discussed. The aerosol optical thickness distributions are considered together with meteorological fields from NOAA_NCEP_CPC_CAMS_ OPI climatology. The τ340 is shown to vary significantly from approximately 0.01 to 0.9 depending on the season and location. Permanent elevated aerosol loading over several industrial areas is observed, which agrees with the output of chemical transport models. Using radiative transfer modeling, monthly mean UV loss due to aerosol was estimated. The absolute decrease in UV indices varies from less than 0.1 to 1.5. The relative UV attenuation has large spatial and temporal variations (−1%–−17%) with a minimum towards the northwest and maxima over several southern local areas (Northern Italy, etc.) during the warm period.